The trade deadline for the 2011-12 season was not as eventful as many fans would have liked to see. While so many professional sports are too scared to make trades, one of the unique things about the NHL is that the trade deadline is usually a frantic experience where teams are dealing right up to the last minute.
When the deadline was approaching everyone knew that the L.A. Kings were looking to acquire a top level goal scorer to add some fire power to their struggling offense.
A few days before the deadline hit, the Kings made a move to acquire Columbus Blue Jacket’s forward Jeff Carter for defenseman Jack Johnson and a 2012 first-round draft pick.
Carter has only been with the Kings for four games so far, but his addition to the team has made a huge difference. Since joining the team, Carter has been a solid contributor, but hasn’t had amazing numbers. While Carter hasn’t been carrying the team, the trade has been a total success so far, and here are five reasons why.
When Carter came to town before the actual deadline, some rumors started to surface about trading the captain Dustin Brown. Brown was not having a bad season before Carter came to L.A., but once Carter arrived Brown started to find his stride.
The first game that Carter played in as a King, Brown had a hat trick in route to a 4-0 win over the Blackhawks. Over the four game stretch that Carter has been with the Kings, Brown has scored five goals. While Carter is not responsible for how Brown plays, Brown has definitely stepped his game up since Carter joined the team.
This season, the Kings have had a problem with scoring goals—they were in last place in the league, only scoring 2.10 goals per game. It was obvious that the Kings needed to add a goal scorer to give themselves a chance of making the playoffs.
When the Kings brought Carter to L.A. they were not looking at how he was playing this season. They were looking for the sniper with a quick release from Philadelphia. Carter has only had two goals in his four games, but the team has scored four goals in three of the four games with Carter.
Bringing Jeff Carter to L.A. reunites him with Mike Richards, his former teammate from Philadelphia. During the offseason, the Kings acquired the former Philadelphia Flyer captain in a trade. Richards had a good start to his season, but after being sidelined with a concussion, he has been struggling to produce points.
Carter and Richards both had huge amounts of success in Philadelphia, and both of them did not have the same results when sent to other teams in the offseason. By bringing the two of them back together, hopefully the Kings can recapture some of the success that took Philadelphia all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Kings already had players that are very capable of scoring the goals that they need to win games. A problem that the Kings would face is that other teams would be able to focus in on the line where the goals would come from and shut them down.
Adding Carter allows the Kings to have Kopitar and Brown be the anchor of the first line, creating a top line that can produce. Teams can no longer focus on shutting down that top line because the Kings have a second line anchored by Richards and Carter, which is just as capable of scoring goals. With a more balanced attack teams can’t focus on shutting down specific lines and that opens up more chances for both lines.
Before Carter was brought to L.A., the team was calling up rookies to play important roles for the team, due to injuries and needing production. While some of the rookies are still with the team because they are young players with a lot of room to improve, they no longer have to produce for the team’s success.
With deeper scoring, the Kings are able to let the young players develop, and as players come back from injury, the depth will only get better.